Tuesday, November 18, 2008

'Tis the Season to be Hood-winked...

I just need to get this off my chest. Why, you ask? Because I'm working in a mall. And every day I consider clawing my own eyes out. And this is my blog, so if you don't like what I'm saying, you just don't have to read it. I don't mean that in a passive-aggressive way, either. If it ain't your cup o' tea, feel free to keep on truckin'.

Sometimes I think I might just be sensitive, or tuned in. Or tuned out. Or fucking crazy. I'm not sure. But this reality that we seem to be living in as a society is not one that I am readily buying into. Maybe that's frustrating to some. But I have always felt like an outsider, and I suppose it stands to reason, that as an outsider, the customs of the insiders must seem a bit odd.

Maybe I'll never understand how it is that debt creates wealth. And I'll never understand how a new car or bigger house will make me more whole or happy. Maybe I'll never buy into eating junk food to make me happy and taking diet pills to make me skinny. I feel so foreign as I watch drug commercials touting the latest, greatest Trojan horse, and contemplating how we have been kept sleeping amidst this great robbery of our spirits as we participate in the 'work, spend, consume...work, spend, consume' treadmill. The worker bees are kept quiet for want of one more day's profits.

I feel disgust when I am listening to Christmas musak in November, played in a dark mall with no clocks, like a casino, so that the patrons lose sense of time and spend their life savings on the latest crap imported from China. I feel sad when I watch a child, who couldn't be more than six or seven, struggle to walk because obesity has taken his balance and grace from him so young. Then to watch that same child down a can of Dr. Pepper and a big tube of sugar (literally), while standing outside my shoppe...All I can think is, when will someone love you enough to help you stop???

I look around and see signs, and Christmas decorations, all advertising a "low, low price" and making promises of happiness, health and fulfillment. They make such promises to us to remind us that we have not achieved these things. "Here," they say, "let me give you what you are obviously missing."

Our inadequacy complex serves them well. We are reminded that we are less than. Less than the celebrities on TV. Less than our neighbours, friends and certainly less than those peddling their mass-produced wares.

All I want is a house that is paid off. A home that no one can take from me. It doesn't have to be pretty (God knows it isn't), and it doesn't have to be big (we are reminded of the smallness every time we have to turn sideways in our living room to sit down). I want a garden, so that I can eat, no matter what, and a way to provide the basics...heat, water, electricity. My furniture doesn't have to be brand new...I would be afraid to be my regular clumsy self, the self who spills stuff, and who loves her cats more than her vanity.

Do I occasionally get woo'd by consumerism? Well, yes, but I really believe that I am able to draw a particular line...I watch women run around frantically looking for "Acai Berry" because Oprah says it will make them lose weight. All I can think is, how have we lost such faith in ourselves that we don't believe our rational thoughts are as valuable as Oprah's fleeting ones, particularly when hers are so heavily beholden to corporate sponsors and shareholders?

Who knew being an outsider could be so freeing?

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